Needs Assessment as a Learning Tool: Three Findings

Needs assessment can be used to determine what factors are causing a problem. Can it also be used to improve organizational learning?

Organizational Change in Franchises through Advisory Boards

How do franchise organizations build momentum around change and an atmosphere of trust with their advisory boards? With my colleague and former doctoral student, Dr. Denise Cumberland, we published an article presenting a framework for these boards. Basically, the model considers the competing emphases affecting the franchisor–franchisee relationship and the roles for human resources and organization development (HROD) professionals.

Online Learning & Centralization of Commuity College Systems

Workforce development training is an important part of the mission of community colleges.  Increasingly, students need and expect online courses to be an option for some or all of their programs.  I conducted a study looking at why some community and technical colleges offer more online programs than others. 

Professors’ Impact on the Real World

For many professors in leadership and organization studies-related fields,  a big part of our job is thinking seriously about how organizational leaders can address the world’s problems and opportunities. However, it’s fair to say that the for a good number of professors, the extent of their real world impact doesn’t go beyond an indirect impact through their teaching.

Four Lessons from The Toughest Leadership Job(s)

Where is it hardest to be a leader?  A major company attempting a comeback… a huge conglomerate like General Electric…leading major government agencies?  In an article in Forbes, Rob Ashgar claims that the toughest leadership job isn’t being head of one of America’s major companies, but rather being the president of a major university.

Eight Areas to Rethink in U.S. Higher Education

I just finished reading The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, written by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring (2011).  Christensen is the noted expert on innovation from Harvard Business School. The basic premise of the book is that higher institutions education in the U.S. have attempted to emulate the model of Harvard, with several distinctive and very expensive features.  Colleges and universities have developed cost models that are unsustainable and most need to re-evaluate their practice and consider adoption of new models in order to be… Read More

Google’s Re-imagining of the Workplace

Most of us have heard about Google’s generous employee benefits…gym memberships, free gourmet food, bowling alleys at work, nap rooms, etc.  However, it’s not just all of those perks that have resulted in the company creating one of the best places to work in the world.  It’s in Google’s DNA to create work environments that foster freedom, flexibility, and employee voice.   Google has taken thrown out many traditional assumptions about management/supervision and HR practices.

Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders.  As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization.  In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits. Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.”  In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations.

How to Approach Diversity-related Change?

In workplaces, community groups, and other settings, we oftentimes seek to make things better for people from diverse backgrounds.  Sometimes we will benefit directly from those changes and sometimes we’re working with others to attain changes that will benefit society or an organization in general.

Coworking…Telecommuting 2.0?

As telecommuting has become a fixture in many workplaces, some have started to look for alternatives.  There’s a yearning for somewhat regular face-to-face interaction and a need for spaces that foster creativity and idea sharing. Traditionally, such sharing has been spawned through chance encounters at the “water cooler,” talking in the hall, or talking in the breakroom.